Manny Ledesma Jr. '18

Although Manny Ledesma Jr.’s academic journey at Blue Ridge had a rocky start, he didn’t let that deter him from graduating and transferring to James Madison University to study political science and public policy.  

Making the Grade: Manny Ledesma Jr., BRCC Class of 2018

Tue Nov 19, 2019 at 10:50 AM

Manny Ledesma Jr. '18

Although Manny Ledesma Jr.’s academic journey at Blue Ridge had a rocky start, he didn’t let that deter him from graduating and transferring to James Madison University to study political science and public policy. In further recognition of his academic turnaround, Manny will attend JMU’s prestigious Washington Semester program next semester.

Manny came to BRCC right after high school graduation from Turner Ashby in Fall 2013. Without a clear goal about a major or career in mind, he struggled in his classes, ending up on academic probation, and later, suspension.

“I didn’t really have a reason for being here [BRCC]. I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” he said. “I was just an average student in high school. But my mom always pushed me towards education.”

After a one-year hiatus and working full time, Manny returned to a BRCC classroom with renewed purpose, thanks to a group of people who helped with goal setting and the process of applying oneself.

“I came back to Blue Ridge and took only one class: Intro to Government. I was determined to get an A. I did, and that trend toward success continued,” said Manny. “I started going to professors’ office hours. One thing that impresses me most about BRCC is the willingness of professors to be available when you need help.”

According to JMU’s website, “The Washington Semester program enables students to explore the wealth of political and cultural opportunities available in the Washington, D.C. area. The program includes semester-length internships, courses taught on-site, panel discussions by people in various professions, cultural activities, and networking opportunities with JMU alumni working in the DC area.” Only 16-18 students participate each semester.

Manny says he’d like to secure an internship on Capitol Hill. While it certainly would be a bonus to line up a future job through his internship, his immediate goal is to gain a better understanding of the governance process. “I want to understand the process behind legislation, all the work that goes on behind the scenes,” he explained. “I’m very interested in the progress of rural areas and how that fits into the future.”